DVD Straightjacket - Happily N'Ever After 2

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Synopsis:
Fairy tales collide when Mambo and Munk tip the scales of good and evil once again. This time Princess Snow White is a misguided teenager who’d rather have fun with friends Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and Little Bo Peep than help peasants. When Snow White’s father is matched up with Lady Vain- a scheming witch brewing to rule the kingdom- Snow White becomes a thorn in Lady Vain’s side. Snow White is soon tricked by Lady Vain (with Rumpelstiltskin’s help) into spreading vicious gossip about the townspeople, forcing her to flee. Through rebuilding the three little pigs’ houses with the seven dwarves leading the way, Snow White learns the value of helping others. Only Snow White can foil her dad’s wedding to stop Lady Vain. With Mambo and Munk in tow, Snow White proves she can rule the kingdom, while bringing balance back to the scales of good and evil.

Special Features:
Includes 3 Interactive Games: Snow White and the Great Hall - Using hints and tips from Mambo and Munk, make your way down the great hall - all the while Rumpelstiltskin will try to blast dark magic at you by aiming the Mirror in your direction; Red Riding Hood Challenge - Using Red's basket of goodies, test your cunning vision to see if you can keep track of the different kinds of pastries that come and go in a limited amount of time; Bo Peep and the Sheep - Outsmart the Ogre in a game of Odd Sheep Out. The Ogre will present several visual challenges that involve Bo Peep's sheep.

Review:
Happily N’Ever After 2 is a slight guilty pleasure. I found it quite humorous to watch one of the most beloved fairy tales get butchered and twisted because I’m just that kind of guy. Apparently, the theatrical release of the first film didn’t pay off well enough to merit a big-screen sequel. It did, however, justify the studio milking the concept in a direct-to-DVD format. No voice actor from the original returns – not even the guys who did Mambo and Munk’s voices.

Imagine, if you will (or care to), a collision between Snow White, Fractured Fairy Tales, and Bratz. Can you picture it? Basically, what you’ve got is a sort of modernized version of Snow White that still takes place a long time ago in Fairy Tale Land. Somehow, though, all the characters know contemporary slang and even carry cell phones. When Snow and her friends hang up with each other, they say things like “Holla!” Now are you getting it? Lucky you. They also go to nightclubs with techno dance music throbbing and disco balls spinning. Sounds like a visual mess, doesn’t it?

Speaking of a visual mess, let’s move on to the animation. It might be passable if it were the year 1995. It just seems plain and aged. Definitely nothing new or attention-grabbing.

The only real tie that I could see between the first film and this one are the two “storytellers”, Mambo and Munk, who control the balance of good and evil. Of course, one of them has to bump the scale over into evil to cause some kind of forward motion in the plotting of this thing. They pretty much end up having absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the story and their segments serve as nothing more than annoying distractions.

I guess in closing you have to take into account who this was made for – the kids. Will they be entertained? Most likely. Will it leave a lasting impression on them? Probably not. Let’s hope they don’t start yelling “holla!” at each other. It will no doubt make the studio some extra spending cash. And after all, isn’t that what straight-to-DVD releases are REALLY all about? (Review by Eric Shirey)

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